cwu

ELLENSBURG, Wash.--Central Washington University Football, in coordination with Great Northwest Athletic Conference football members Simon Fraser and Western Oregon, today accepted an offer of affiliate membership in the Lone Star Conference beginning in 2022, the leagues offices announced on Thursday.

The addition of the GNAC's programs will make the Lone Star a 10-team conference in football. In the expanded LSC, all teams will play nine-game conference schedules and be eligible for weekly and postseason awards, the league championship and NCAA postseason playoff berths. Teams will have two open weeks in which to schedule non-conference opponents.

"We are excited to welcome the Central Washington, Simon Fraser and Western Oregon football programs to the Lone Star Conference. As affiliate members these three institutions will strengthen our football membership and add to the rich history and already strong competition in our league," said LSC Commissioner Jay Poerner. "We look forward to their continued association with the LSC."

The multi-year agreement to align with the Lone Star Conference marks an enhancement to one of the most significant scheduling alliances arranged at any level. With the first phase of the alliance announced in 2019, the collaboration between the GNAC and the LSC resulted in agreements for nearly 60 in-region matchups over four years.

"Given recent membership changes in both conferences, this was a logical progression in a unique and important partnership," said GNAC commissioner Dave Haglund. "On behalf of our members, I want to express appreciation to the leaders in the Lone Star Conference - commissioner Jay Poerner and the league's presidents and athletic directors -- for recognizing the immense value in building on the fruitful alliance that was formed three years ago."

The multi-year agreement to align with the Lone Star Conference marks an enhancement to one of the most significant scheduling alliances arranged at any level. With the first phase of the alliance announced in 2019, the collaboration between the GNAC and the LSC resulted in agreements for nearly 60 in-region matchups over four years.

Of the Lone Star Conference's seven full-member institutions that sponsor football, five are based in Texas and two are based in New Mexico.

Central Washington recently captured its fourth consecutive GNAC championship and owns 11 football titles overall since the formation of the GNAC in 2001. The Wildcats (8-2) open the NCAA Playoffs on Saturday at Northwest Missouri State.

Dr. Jim Wohlpart, Central Washington President
"The opportunity to become an affiliate member of the Lone Star Conference will take our football program to the next level and provide our student-athletes with the chance to enhance their skills and abilities. I am appreciative of the work of Commissioners Haglund and Poerner which will elevate the brand of the university and increase our ability to recruit and retain students. Through this change, Athletic Director Dennis Francois and Head Coach Chris Fisk are expanding opportunities for our student-athletes to compete nationally on the field and to succeed in the classroom."

Dennis Francois, Central Washington Director of Athletics
"This is truly an exciting day for Central Washington University Football. Becoming an affiliate member of the Lone Star Conference solves the ever-increasing scheduling challenges on the West Coast and further demonstrates our university's commitment to providing our football student-athletes the best opportunity to succeed on a national level. I commend Commissioners Haglund and Poerner for their leadership, perseverance, and collaboration in making this union come to fruition."

Chris Fisk, Central Washington Head Football Coach
"We are very excited to join the Lone Star Conference. It is going to be great to join a full league that competes at the national level and competes for national championships. We have a lot of respect for the Lone Star Conference and its current members. Our hope is that we add value and strength to the league with our presence. We are looking forward to being a Lone Star member."